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体育在线365The closure of the state university system due to coronavirus has prompted a class-action lawsuit alleging that student fees have not been returned.

体育在线365The 16-page lawsuit filed in Leon County is aimed at the Florida Board of Governors on behalf of the students of all 12 state-run universities, with a University of Florida graduate student Anthony Rojas named as the lead plaintiff.

It targets the on-campus fees associated with college, not tuition or room and board, because without a campus to go to, the services are not available.

“Despite its constructive eviction of students at the Universities for the remainder of the semester and ending all campus activities for at least that same time period, FBOG has not offered refunds of fees paid to cover the cost of certain on-campus services which are no longer be available to students,” wrote Coral Gables attorney Adam Moskwitz in the lawsuit filed Monday.

体育在线365“FBOG’s decision to transition to online classes and to request or encourage students to leave campus were responsible decisions to make, but it is unfair and unlawful for FBOG to retain fees and to pass the losses on to the students and their families.”

体育在线365FBOG Spokeswoman Renee Fargason said the organization would not be commenting on the pending litigation. 

The lawsuit points to capital improvement funds and fees connected to financial aid, technology, activities and services, athletics, health and transportation paid by Rojas for the Spring 2020 semester that cover campus resources.

体育在线365Rojas, in an email, said he paid $983.52 in fees, at $81.96 a credit hour, for the classes he took in the spring semester. 

More on campus funding 

State college campuses began shifting to online learning in early March. By the middle of the month, most were in the process of closing campuses and by the end of the month some were beginning to issue dining and housing refunds to students.  The FBOG has accepted fee changes for the summer session, but the lawsuit asks the fees to be prorated and the unused portion returned.

体育在线365“FBOG’s constituent universities have not offered or provided students and/or their families any refund of the system-wide fees or of the miscellaneous campus fees they paid that were unused and will not be able to be used,” the lawsuit claims. “Rather than acknowledge the difficult financial stresses that COVID-19 has placed on families, FBOG students in Florida and their families were expected to bear the brunt of the stress.”

体育在线365Florida State University paid out an estimated $10.3 million in housing and meal plan refunds this semester while Florida A&M University paid out an estimated $4.3 million in housing and meal plan refunds.

体育在线365At FAMU, per-credit hour fees for in-state undergraduate students cost $151.

Undergraduate fees at FSU run about $215.55 per credit hour each semester.

Higher Education reporter Byron Dobson contributed to this report. 

Contact Karl Etters at ketters@jameswburdick.com or @KarlEtters on Twitter.

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